THE MANAGEMENT RESERVE THE RIGHT…..Why You Are Not Getting On At Work And How The Reasons Are Not What You Think They Are
Are you fed up with doing the same old job, with no thanks and no hope of promotion? You need worry no longer. Getting promoted is an absolute piece of piss. Let The Daily Grime guide you up the ziggurat. Here is the chronology of success laid out for you in easy to follow steps. The first step requires you to ask yourself a very difficult question
1) Am I Any Good At My Job?
Be brutally honest with your answer or you are sunk before you start. If the truthful answer is yes then forget about any prospect of advancement at your current place of employment. You are far too useful where you are. Find another job as soon as possible, then proceed to step 2. If the truthful answer is no, then stay put and go to stage 2 without delay.
2) Be Keen
If you fall into the “good at my job” category, the other reason you will never get promoted in the old job is lack of enthusiasm. You get good by understanding how it all works and this takes the edge off your brainless positivity. Do not make the mistake of getting too good at the new job, no matter how laughably easy it is. Just be overly peppy and constantly asking for something else to do. Do not start a new task until you are told. Be all the more keen the stupider and more pointless that task is.
If you are in the “useless at my job” category, then you will have to invent a reason as to your sudden change of attitude (found God, got a life coach, quit booze etc). Do not fall into the trap of telling the truth, no matter how tempting it may seem. Managers always interpret true reasons as flimsy excuses. The raw, unvarnished truth, even on the most trivial of subjects, makes them extremely uncomfortable. It gives them an unscratchable itch on the inside of the skull. This can only be soothed by the assumption that the truth teller is lying and up to no good. When your explanation has been accepted, and if it’s a blatant enough lie it always will be, then you can follow the advice given above for your more able colleague.
3) Horses For Courses
Congratulations! Your willingness to follow any instruction, no matter how idiotic, has got you on the first rung. You are now a Supervisor or a Team Leader or whatever your employer has chosen to call it. You will now be sent on some management courses. You will learn about Smart Goals and Feedback and various other tools of the trade. You’ll be reminded that people are your most precious resource and probably told to read a book called “The One Minute Manager”. It will all be very upbeat and American and most of it will sound like a good idea. This is because most of it is, as in America ineffective managers get sacked rather than promoted into sinecure positions where they can’t do any harm and help to justify the following year’s budget.
On your return to work you will find out the real reason you went on these courses. Mention anything you’ve learnt on them and the other managers will rip the piss out of you mercilessly. It is time for the secret agenda to be revealed. This a bit like being inducted into the Freemasons. That organization is ostensibly about tradition and good works for charity. What it’s really about is joining an old boy network and pretending to be a cross between a ritual magician and a medieval gangster. The true purpose of your courses is to warn you how not to treat the people you are in charge of.
4) Applying What You Know
At this stage, the incentive to ignore all the expensive training you’ve been given will still be in the form of good natured ribbing. So, slightly puzzled, you just get on with what you’ve been taught and what common sense deems fit. And surprise surprise, you do actually get results. Your staff will like you and work hard for you, in the vain hope that this time it will be different. You are now officially a target. The layers of management above you now class you as neither one of “us” nor as one of “them”. There you sit in no man’s land, and each time you do it your own way and achieve something is another attempt to light that tell-tale cigarette.
5) Getting Paxo’d
The people in charge of you are now waiting for you to make a mistake. You being human – for the moment – and life being unpredictable, something will eventually go wrong. Now the Brotherhood of the Big Shitty Stick will pounce. Despite any actual skull itching reasons you might present, any problems will be emphatically blamed on your familiarity with your workers. You are too soft on them and need to toughen up. Suggestions will be made on how to turn the situation around. These will shock you. If your workers have too much to do, give them even more. If they protest, call them lazy and shout at them. If they say they won’t have time, tell them simply to make more time, like they’re from Gallifrey or something. Offer threats and on no account offer them actual solutions to any problems. This bullying is known as “establishing managerial distance”. It will be made clear that, should you refuse, although they do not wish to follow a disciplinary route, and eventually demote or sack you they fucking well will, so pull your finger out. You will be forced to be like the comedy electrician who tries to fix everything with a hammer. This is known as being Paxo’d, after the famous stuffing of the same name. The staff under you shake their heads and prepare their well tried strategies for the next stage.
6) The Battle of Wits
You may think you are quite clever, especially if you have reached this point via a graduate fast track programme. The management mafia love you because you think that your university education renders you automatically superior. You are especially good on the keen part, due to your massive debts and have the added advantage of knowing jack shit. You are what is referred to as “young, dumb and full of cum”. Well, however you got here, here you are.
The point is that the people under you have decades of experience between them and have seen all of this before. You have to either give up or just be a total bastard. They will get you back in little ways, mainly by following your orders to the letter when they were perhaps not specific enough and “forgetting” to relay information to you until it’s way too late to do anything about it. This is bloody annoying but it will not stop you getting the next promotion, in fact it will help.
7) Health and Safety Conscious Team Building
Not everyone is quick on the uptake. No one in charge of you ever officially tells you the secret agenda. They could then be officially sacked if they did, as it is all strictly against Equal Opportunities legislation. If you are one of these people, or just stubborn, they have two more courses up their sleeves which they will send you on in rapid succession. The first is the Team Building Course.
The Team Building Course involves you and your entire staff spending a day solving imaginary difficulties or building rafts or something. This may all seem like total bollocks to you, and that’s because it is. However, it is cunning and carefully crafted bollocks. It is designed to bring people together by their hatred of the common foe, in this case the ludicrous course content. It’s a bit like what Lee Marvin did in the film “The Dirty Dozen”. The effect is engineered to last only about two weeks. You will then be sent on the Health and Safety Course. Finding out that many of the things you do, or ask other people to do, at work carry a custodial sentence of fifteen years and a £25,000 fine will leave you very reluctant to make on the spot decisions. This also, coincidentally, wears off after two weeks. At the end of those two weeks, the evaporation of the new found team spirit of your staff will be blamed on your lack of decision making. You will then be dragged into an official “counselling session” where you will be told that your superiors, although they do not wish to follow a disciplinary route, they fucking well will so pull your finger out. This will be dressed up in pretty and official language for the sake of the record.
8) Extra Time
The final weapon to be wielded in your direction is the demonic “needs of the business” clause in your salaried contract. You will be contracted for a set number of hours – probably about forty five – but expected do extra unpaid hours to “tidy up any odds and ends” at the close of a shift. This clause is basically carte blanche to salami slice precious hours off your life and pay you sod all for the privilege. If you insist on being stubborn (I was, that’s how I know all this), then this is what happens.
There are always things which can be comfortably left to do another day, and managers are allowed to do so. Managers who don’t follow the secret agenda are not. An hour before you are due to leave, a very senior boss will walk around your department and peel a few more layers off the onion which is your job. This manager is quite entitled to do this as none of these things are technically allowed to be left at the end of a working day. You will be pummelled by this tactic until you give in, or give up and hand your notice in. My personal record for unpaid overtime in one week is forty six hours, so I worked more than twice my contracted hours that week. I was not the record holder for my place of work.
9) Pick a Tribe
Much as they enjoyed the little holiday from it, your people have now returned to the status quo they know and feel comfortable with. They realise that managers are just little groups of warring tribes running parallel to the actual business of making everything work. Your role is to sign their holiday forms and overtime sheets and to defend them against rival management raiding parties. They all want to nick your staff to do jobs they hate, and you are there to stop them. And to do lots of shouting of course. When the upper echelons are around, engineer problems to show off your ranting abilities to them. Results are secondary. They will happen anyway as long as the bullying is down to a mutually acceptable level. Your team will nod and smile and ignore you and do what needs to be done.
10) Carry On
That’s pretty much it really. Carry on with the boorish behaviour and be seen doing it. Your career will soon be flying high as a kite, though your nerves will be the buzzing, straining twine which holds it aloft. If you are in a relationship, your sex life will vanish. If you are not, you will start to have strings of meaningless sexual encounters procured via joyless nightclub outings. The female managers in a relationship will start to buying cats for affection. If you are male and similarly attached, you will have an affair with a girl from work. She will be a recent school leaver who is way out of your league in terms of sexual attractiveness but has Daddy issues and so happens to like being domineered by a heartless bully such as yourself. Continue until your excessive alcohol and drug consumption results in a full blown nervous breakdown.
Epilogue – Natural Born Fillers
There will inevitably be managers reading this and thinking “That sounds very skewed to me. I love managing people and have suffered no ill effect at all”. They are the people who were born to stack shelves of sweep streets, and if there was any justice in the world, this is precisely what they would be doing. Sadly, we live in a world where the only justice is the artificial kind, created by flawed human beings. So, they climb the ladder by doing what they did at school which is standing behind the biggest bully and egging him on. We can console ourselves with the fact that they will never get what they really want, actual real power. They will only ever get to a certain level and stay there angry and bitter. This is because the big bully has no respect for them and they will only ever be useful terriers.
What about the people who do make it, what’s their secret? Well, if I knew that, I might not be sitting here typing this. I wouldn’t trample people for Luncheon Vouchers and a Lexus, but I think most people would consider it for a phone number salary and a Lamborghini. I have a social conscience, but I’m not Ghandi or anything. But as far as I can make out you have to:
a) be born into the right family
b) earn/buy an Oxbridge degree
c) attend a well known public school
d) sleep with the right people
e) come up with a really simple idea no one has thought of and get really lucky
Most of us have no chance of fulfilling the above criteria, so there are two choices. You can go ahead and be the biggest bastard on the block and fight your way up to your natural ceiling of corporate success. Or you can realise that the things that success gives you are just distractions to wind you down after a hard day’s selling your soul to Satan and not bother. Be happy with your simple pleasures and your partner and your pint. Follow the old Zen recipe for a happy life as closely as you can: eat when you’re hungry, sleep when you’re tired and work when you feel like it. It’s not easy, but it’s a lot easier than all that shouting.
© Copyright Michael Grimes 2013
Tags: American, brainless, brotherhood, bullying, Carry on, cigarettes, education, enthusiasm, equal opportunities, Freemasons, Gallifrey, gangsters, ghandi, hate, health and safety, honesty, justice, lamborghini, management, nervous breakdown, nightclubs, no man's land, one minute manager, oxbridge, Paxo, peppy, prison, promotion, results, salami, secret agenda, sinecure, success, targets, team building, terriers, tribes, truth, university, zen
About thedailygrimeAt that awkward age - too young to be a grumpy old man, but just acerbic and downtrodden enough to have an opinion. Read it here.
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